Motion for a resolution - B7-0120/2009Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on democracy-building in the EU's external relations


further to Question for Oral Answer B7‑0213/2009
pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure

Véronique De Keyser, Richard Howitt, Thijs Berman on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0118/2009

Procedure : 2009/2718(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on democracy-building in the EU's external relations

The European Parliament,

–    having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in particular its Article 21 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,


–    having regard to Articles 3, 6, 11 and 19 of the Treaty on European Union and Articles 177, 300 and 310 of the EC Treaty,


–    having regard to all agreements between the EU and third countries and the human rights and democracy clauses contained in those agreements,


–    having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union proclaimed in Strasbourg on 12 December 2007,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution 'UN Millennium Declaration' of 8 September 2000, A/RES/55/2,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution 'Promoting and consolidating democracy' of 4 December 2000, A/RES/55/96,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution '2005 Work Summit Outcome' of 15 September 2005, A/RES/60/1,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution '2005 Work Summit Outcome' of 15 September 2005, A/RES/60/1,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution 'Enhancing the role of regional, sub-regional and other organizations and arrangements in promoting and consolidating democracy' of 23 March 2005, A/RES/59/201,


–    having regard to the Commission communication on EU election assistance and observation (COM(2001) 191),


–    having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2001 on the Commission communication on EU Election Assistance and Observation,


–    having regard to the Commission communication on the EU's role in promoting human rights and democratisation in third countries (COM(2001) 252),


–    having regard to its resolution of 25 April 2002 on the Commission communication on the European Union's role in promoting human rights and democratisation in third countries,


–    having regard to the European Security Strategy (12 December 2003),


–    having regard to the Commission communication on 'Governance and Development' (COM(2003) 615),


–    having regard to its report (A5- 0219/2004), on that Commission communication,


–    having regard to the European Union Consensus on Development of 2005,


–    having regard to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of 2005 and the Accra Agenda for Action of 2008,


–    having regard to the Commission communication on 'Governance in the European Consensus on Development - Towards a harmonised approach within the European Union' (COM(2006) 421),


–    having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide (EIDHR),


–    having regard to the decision of its Bureau of 18 June 2007 establishing the Office for Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy,


–    having regard to the May 2008 EP resolution on 'EU election observation missions: objectives, practices and future challenges',


–    having regard to the Council conclusions of May 2009 on 'Support to Democratic Governance: towards an enhanced EU framework',


–    having regard to the question to the Commission of 30 September 2009 on democracy- building in external relations (O-00xx/2009 - B7‑0xxx/2009),


–    having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,


A.  whereas democracy and human rights are fundamental values of the European Union and its Member States, and have been integral to the process of European integration from the outset,


B.   whereas the basic treaties of the European Union underline a firm commitment to democracy and human rights, and the Copenhagen political criteria of 'stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and, protection of minorities' have been a key feature of the enlargement process,


C.  whereas the EU vision of democracy building and support has not yet been set out in a single document,


D.  whereas the broad understanding of democracy has been the successful integration of political, social and economic rights within the EU, and this has been a key feature in bringing stability and prosperity in a fashion unseen in world history,


E.   whereas Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states that one of the key objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy is 'to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms',


F.   whereas democratic systems may vary in form and shape, as is the case within the EU, but democracy is a universal value and its essential principles or elements are enshrined in numerous international declarations and conventions; whereas these elements, as defined by two UN General Assembly resolutions in 2000 and 2005 (A/RES/55/96 and A/RES/59/201), include:


•     respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of opinion;

•     the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives, and the right to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic free elections by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the people;

•     a pluralistic system of political parties and organisations;

•     respect for the rule of law;

•     the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary;

•     transparency and accountability in public administration;

•     free, independent and pluralistic media,


G.  whereas as stated in the Millennium Declaration, democratic and participatory governance based on the will of the people can best assure the right of men and women to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and free from fear of violence, oppression or injustice,


H.  whereas the ability of men and women to participate on equal terms in political life and in decision-making is a prerequisite of genuine democracy,


I.    whereas democracy, development and respect for all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights, are interdependent and mutually reinforcing,


J.    whereas democracy is also clearly linked to security, as recognised by the European Security Strategy, which states that 'spreading good governance, supporting social and political reform, dealing with corruption and abuse of power, establishing the rule of law and protecting human rights are the best means of strengthening the international order',


K   whereas the EU has a wide range of instruments and tools, from political dialogue and diplomatic initiatives to specific instruments of financial and technical cooperation, to support democracy worldwide,


L.   whereas the EU's external financial instruments, such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and the Instrument for Stability (IfS), all provide significant possibilities for democratic governance and institutional and capacity-building support,


M.  whereas the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is a key financial assistance instrument in human rights and democracy, being global in scope, able to work without the host country's consent, and directly supporting civil society organisations; whereas EU election observation missions (EOMs), financed by the EIDHR, are an essential part of the EU's contribution to democratic institution-building,


N.  whereas there is a need for a better overview of the support for democracy currently provided by the EU and of how the EU's large arsenal of tools and instruments to support democracy worldwide delivers in partner countries and how those different instruments and actors operate and connect,


O.  whereas Parliament's 2004 report on the Commission communication on governance and development stressed 'the importance of pursuing electoral and parliamentary reforms, beyond the establishment of multi-party electoral systems, to ensure more extensive and effective political activity among the population',[1]


1.   Shares the view that there is a need for a more coherent and uniform framework in order to make EU support for democracy-building throughout the world more effective;


2.   Welcomes the efforts by former and current EU Presidencies regarding a cross-pillar initiative on democracy-building in EU external actions with the aim of refining the Union's policy and reinforcing its action and coordination of efforts, and underlines the need for a sustained action in this field, as part of the Council conclusions to be adopted in November 2009;


3.   Recommends that the Council conclusions should include concrete and practical suggestions for improving the coordination of support for democracy in the EU's foreign policy, human rights and development policy instruments, thus building a common platform responding to the substantive needs of democracy as a political system in terms of handling conflict, sharíng power and securing equitable development;


4.   Reiterates that democratisation and good governance are not only ends in themselves, but are also vital for poverty reduction, sustainable development, peace and stability; considers that democracy, as demonstrated by the EU internal integration progress, helps to deliver not only political and civil rights but also economic, cultural and social rights, including solidarity;


5.   Considers that the embedding of democracy and democratic processes in third countries offers the best prospects for developing effective policies related to global issues which are also of concern to EU citizens; democratic systems can, for instance, better combat transnational crime, illegal immigration and trafficking, protect the environment, maintain an open global trading system, and secure sustainable and competitive energy supplies;


6.   Recommends that the EU, in order to strengthen concerted worldwide actions to promote democracy, should publicly endorse the 2005 UN General Assembly's definition of democracy, as the reference point for its own democratisation work;


7.   Stresses that democracy cannot be exported or imposed from the outside; underlines the EU's continued commitment to the principles of ownership of development strategies and programmes by partner countries; considers that these processes, however, can be supported by all the different EU instruments, adopted to the specific situation of each country;


8.   Proposes that the Council and Commission should proceed with a comprehensive and detailed analysis of all EU democracy support in a sample of partner countries, permitting practical recommendations to be made;


9.   Recommends that the Council and Commission implement the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action on Aid Effectiveness in their democracy support work; suggests in particular that there should be joint EU democracy assessments and joint EU programming and burden-sharing, in order to increase the impact and visibility of the EU's democracy support work;


10. Underlines the importance of the human rights clauses already contained in EU agreements; in this context, reiterates that such clauses should first be applied consistently in the existing agreements rather than devising new agreements containing additional conditions;


11. Suggests that the Commission should systematically incorporate a 'state of democracy' section in its Country Strategy Papers, including and integrating recommendations from relevant EU EOMs, and should also, wherever appropriate, mainstream democracy support in cooperation programmes with partner countries;


12. Underlines the need for a better coordination of the activities carried out under the different external financial instruments, so as to fully explore the complementarity between geographical and thematic instruments;


13. Urges the Council and Commission to carry out broad-based, comprehensive consultations with all EU and third-country stakeholders, including institutional and regional and local actors and independent civil society groups, before launching new democracy-building initiatives;


14. Encourages the Commission to engage, on a more systematic basis, democratic institutions at all levels, particularly parliaments and regional and local authorities, in the preparation and implementation of country-specific instruments such as agreements between the EU and the country concerned and Country Strategy Papers;


15. Underlines that EU democracy support needs to be comprehensive, addressing all issues covered by the UNGA 2005 resolution, and to take a long-term approach in its delivery; sees the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) as a key financial assistance instrument in this regard, and calls for the relevant support to be maintained and strengthened;


16. Welcomes the positive contribution made by EU EOMs to strengthening democratic processes, enhancing respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, good governance and the rule of law, and, in particular, reinforcing electoral processes around the world; stresses, nonetheless, the need to ensure a coherent post-electoral policy, paying particular attention to convergence between technical and political follow-up, with development support being consistent with democratic principles and democratic governance values;


17. Stresses that EU democracy-building efforts should more systematically include a special focus on the role of elected representatives and political parties and independent media, as well as on the strengthening of women's participation in political and public life;


18. Recommends the introduction of a specific strategy to support newly and democratically elected parliaments with a view to permanently entrenching democracy, the rule of law and good governance and further developing a peer-to-peer instrument between parliamentarians of different nationalities with regard to what constitutes efficient and effective representation of the interests of the electorate, efficient and effective oversight of the executive, and ways and means to maintain the information flow between all parts of the governance system;


19. Confirms its own determination to contribute to the reinforcement of democratic processes by enhancing its involvement in election observation, follow-up to EU EOMs, and parliamentary capacity-building through its Office for Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy (OPPD), which can contribute to the building of the institutional and administrative capacity of the parliaments of new and emerging democracies (NEDs) through counselling, training, internships, exchange of good practices and networking; also underlines the importance of involving parliamentary assemblies such as the ACP-EU Assembly, EUROLAT, EUROMED and EURONEST;


20. Encourages the Commission delegations to partner with the OPPD when considering or initiating parliamentary support programmes;


21. Recommends that the November Council conclusions should include an action plan and that there should be a progress report by the end of 2010;


22. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.